Is ileoscopy with biopsy worthwhile in patients presenting with symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease?

Am J Gastroenterol. 1998 Feb;93(2):201-6. doi: 10.1111/j.1572-0241.1998.00201.x.


Objective: To assess the value of adding ileoscopy with biopsy to colonoscopy, hence increasing the indications for ileoscopy in patients presenting with symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease.

Methods: Two hundred fifty-seven patients with persistent diarrhea and 43 patients with sporadic colonic polyps were studied prospectively. The final diagnosis based on clinical and follow-up data, the histology of multiple ileal biopsies, and endoscopic findings were analyzed.

Results: Endoscopic lesions of the terminal ileum were found in 123 of 300 patients. In the 43 patients with colonic polyps, no ileal lesions were seen. Ileal disease without colonic involvement was present in 44 of 123 patients. Microscopic lesions of the ileum were present in 125 of 300, or in 125 of 257 (49%) with symptoms of diarrhea. Two of these had a normal endoscopy. Thirteen patients had a diffuse colitis and 11 had a predominantly left-sided colitis, both originally suggestive of ulcerative colitis. Crohn's disease was diagnosed in 88 patients and infectious disease in 17. Ileal biopsies were essential for the diagnosis in 15 patients and were contributive in 53. Granulomas, solitary giant cells, pseudopyloric gland metaplasia, eosinophils, and a disturbed villous architecture were the most important lesions observed in Crohn's disease and were contributive for this diagnosis.

Conclusions: Ileoscopy with biopsy is useful in carefully selected patients presenting with symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease. The main indications are diagnosis of isolated ileal disease in the presence of a normal colon and differential diagnosis in patients with pancolitis and predominantly left-sided colitis. Multiple biopsy specimens show definite pathology in almost half of the patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Biopsy*
  • Child
  • Colonoscopy
  • Endoscopy, Gastrointestinal*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ileum / pathology*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Inflammatory Bowel Diseases / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies